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National Honoree

Photo of National Honoree Sarah (Katie) Eder

Sarah (Katie) Eder

Shorewood, Wisconsin

Sarah (Katie) Eder, 17, of Shorewood, Wis., a junior at Shorewood High School, developed a creative writing workshop for children in need that is now being taught by 120 teens in seven states and five other countries. Three years ago, Katie took a writing workshop that “changed my life,” she said. It occurred to her that many kids, particularly those in underserved communities, have few opportunities to write creatively. “I knew I could either sit back and do nothing, or find a way for more kids to find their voice through writing,” Katie said. So she decided to create “Kids Tales.”

After designing a curriculum for kids 8 to 12 years old, Katie conducted her first two weeklong workshops during the summer of 2014 at a school and youth center. She helped 18 children brainstorm ideas for short stories, write rough drafts, and then edit their stories. At the end, she gathered the stories, published them as an anthology on Amazon and presented each student with a paper copy. The first workshops were so successful that Katie was soon training other teens who wanted to teach them. Last summer, 97 teen teachers conducted workshops for nearly 400 kids both in the U.S. and abroad, and Kids Tales published 22 anthologies. As executive director of the Kids Tales nonprofit organization, Katie recruits and trains teachers, raises funds, maintains a website and coordinates publishing activity – in addition to conducting her own workshops. Katie hopes to double the size of her organization this year.